Priyanka Gandhi’s Strange Omission

published on August 6, 2011
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

Unlike her brother who has high aspirations and ambitions out of sync with his actual abilities Priyanka Gandhi or Vadra as she calls herself (her married name) has largely stayed out of the limelight. She appears at election time sporting a tilak and visiting temples, fair enough, since these are the games of  electoral politics  (although reports are that she is not a Hindu). On the whole, despite the allegations of corruption against her husband Robert Vadra, she has mangaged to keep a clean image, though the controversy over illegal acquisition of land for the Rajiv Gandhi trust in Haryana in recent days has begun to dent that image. It is also known that she does much of the managment aspects of the family.Lately, the liberal press has not been following Rahul around, after the UP debacle, and Priyanka has managed to stay away from press coverage, although there was something a few days ago about her and tigers’ tales.

However, a year or so ago, there had been  reports about her controversial visit to the woman who was associated with the assassination of her father Rajiv Gandhi. The woman was in jail,  in Vellore (Tamil Nadu). There was much mystery about the visit, although the Congress party and supporters hailed it as a humanitarian visit.Presumably she had forgiven the woman for her role in the assassination.

There was speculation elsewhere that it was not quite what it was cracked up to be : a humanitarian visit. Be that as it may, there is a more immediate question that comes to mind about Priyanka, which the present writer has mulled over. Given that Priyanka is given to humanitarian acts   why did she not visit the elderly woman Rajbala whose spine had been damaged and who lay in hospital with four limbs paralysed, after the attack on June 4, 2011 on the Ramlila grounds in Delhi ?

Rahul, ofcourse, went nowhere near the scene, since he is politically too close to the decision of the sinister eminence who ordered the attack (according to press reports). But why did Priyanka stay away ? For a woman who would go so far as  to visit someone who was associated with her father’s assassination , ( she had forgiven the woman the crime) it seems only normal to visit the elderly woman in the hospital, who after all was guilty of no such crime.

The sinister eminence will always have Rajbala on her conscience, if indeed she is capable of such sentiments. Is it possible that the daughter is in denial ?

One must remember that the sins of the fathers ought not to be visited on the sons; in this case one can adapt that  to the current situation. Priyanka cannot be held responsible for her mother’s actions. Neverthless, in combination with the mysterious visit to the jail and the refusal to express any humanitarian sentiment for the elderly woman Rajbala, Priyanka’s omission sends an unusual signal.

Have the silence and secrecy that has shrouded the family been finally torn apart by that single infamous event on June 4, 2011 ? Can this be the one event that Priyanka cannot come to terms with ? She can face the woman who was accused of complicity in the assassination of her father, but she cannot face the woman who has been paralysed for life during that infamous night, owing to her mother’s orders, as she read them in the press.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).

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